A Muslim cleric turned terrorist leader – targeted for assassination by the U.S. government – is a Colorado State University graduate who honed his preaching skills in Colorado mosques.
Born in New Mexico, Anwar al-Awlaki arrived in Colorado in 1990 to study at CSU after spending more than 11 years in Yemen. He graduated in 1994, records show, with a degree in civil engineering.
He left little mark here — no achievements notable or infamous — and relatively few in Fort Collins or Denver remember him.
Those who did know al-Awlaki recall his emerging gift for oratory and persuasion. Some sensed the stirrings of radicalism in his speeches before he left in the mid-1990s, eventually returning to Yemen.
Moving any large number of terror detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Colorado’s Supermax would require either shuffling current residents out of the Florence prison or expanding its capacity and resolving a long-running battle over adequate prison staffing.
As President Barack Obama and congressional leaders point toward the Colorado federal prison as a possible new home for some of the detainees, one big problem is the bed-space crunch. Supermax’s approximately 480 concrete cells already are jammed with the likes of Oklahoma City bombing co-conspirator Terry Nichols, Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph and other notorious domestic criminals. There also are 33 international terrorists, including Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, 1993 World Trade Center bombing mastermind Ramzi Yousef and failed airline shoe bomber Richard Reid. Only one bed was not filled Thursday at Supermax, U.S. Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Tracy Billingsley said. Yet locals in the adjacent town of Florence say they’d probably would be supportive, Town Manager Tom Piltingsrud said. They took the initiative on establishing Supermax in the first place, scraping together money to buy land and then donating it to the government for the complex. They remain glad for the jobs it provides, Piltingsrud said. “It’s a recession-proof industry.”
BEIRUT – Hezbollah ruling council member Abdallah Kassir –
perched in a third-floor office under a large photo of the late
Iranian revolutionary Ayatollah Khomeini – boasts that “we have
Katyusha” rockets to shoot at Israel.
And Hezbollah is linked to more American deaths than any
group other than Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda.
But this group also runs social welfare projects and enjoys
wide popularity. Kassir and 11 other Hezbollah leaders serve in
The dual role of Hezbollah – part caretaker of the poor, part
guerrilla force – illustrates why heading off terrorism after the
Afghanistan campaign may prove vexing for the United States.
Is progress more likely if you engage with a group such as
Hezbollah, or if you try to isolate it?
U.S. diplomats recognize Hezbollah’s two sides.
“There are good works that they do in social and economic
areas,” State Department spokesman Greg Sullivan said. “That said,
they are clearly linked to terrorism. They are clearly involved in
the planning and execution of terrorist actions that have resulted
in the deaths of Americans. That’s got to stop.”
So far in the war on terrorism, nobody’s taken action against
Hezbollah, even amid reports the group may have helped al-Qaeda
fighters fleeing Afghanistan. Despite President Bush’s
with-us-or-against-us doctrine, Hezbollah operates about as usual.
Foremost, it opposes Israel. “We are not terrorists. We are
resisting terror,” Kassir said. Any violent acts are “self
defense” against Israel – which is supported by the United States.
“You should stop supporting terrorism yourselves.”
U.S. officials blame Hezbollah for the 1983 suicide truck
bombing in Beirut that killed 241 Marines, for attacks in Israel
that killed Americans and for kidnappings and plane hijackings.
They accuse Hezbollah of supplying a bombmaker linked to the 1998
deaths of more than 250 people at two U.S. embassies in Africa.
They suspect a role, which Hezbollah denies, in the recent
weapons shipment from Iran to Palestinians that Israel
Yet Hezbollah runs schools and health clinics, delivers
drinking water to slums, repairs roads and feeds the poor – all of
which wins support across Lebanon.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and various European
diplomats have met with Hezbollah leaders in recent years,
recognizing the group’s influence.
Hezbollah spokesman Hussein Naboulsi said U.S. officials
negotiated indirectly with Hezbollah before Sept. 11, sending an
intermediary to offer “anything you want” if the group would
renounce violence against Israel.
Sullivan denied this. “If others have claimed to represent
U.S. views, they are doing so without U.S. approval.” British
officials “have had a dialogue with Hezbollah” and may have
mentioned U.S. positions, Sullivan said, but “are not acting on
U.S. hard-liners argue for attacks on Hezbollah training camps
in Lebanon and for pressure on Lebanon’s Syria-backed government
for harboring Hezbollah.
“You have to be much more aggressive about hitting people
before they hit you,” said veteran U.S. diplomat Paul Bremer, a
corporate security consultant who coordinated counterterrorism
efforts and chaired a terrorism commission under President Ronald
Hezbollah officials call for a different approach. Kassir,
42, insists he’s a reasonable man with the highest regard for
“God has forbidden us to hurt any human being or animal
without a really strong reason.” He added, “Hezbollah is not an
enemy of the American people.”
As a young man, the son of a teacher, Kassir had just moved
from the family home to Beirut when in 1982 an Israeli mortar
attack killed his 19-year-old brother, Abdel Monem, in southern
“It made me extremely upset and sad. It gave me
determination: “I am going to force the Israelis out.’ It
convinced me without a doubt that Israelis are terrorists.”
Hezbollah came to prominence in the 18-year conflict that
followed Israel’s invasion of Lebanon.
Now the Israelis have withdrawn from most of Lebanon. One
southern area still is contested, and Israeli warplanes fly over
Lebanon several times a week. Hezbollah condemns the flights – as
do the United Nations and United States.
“We’ve made known to the Israelis our concern that
overflights are a violation of the U.N. demarcated line of
withdrawal,” State Department spokesman Sullivan said.
For the United States to attack Hezbollah would be
counterproductive, igniting rage when people in Lebanon are
turning away from violence toward progress, Kassir said.
“You must control yourself. Think with your brains, not your
emotions. Work with partners to make solutions to problems in the
world,” he said.
“I feel with you, with what happened to you in New York. But
now I want you to feel with me, too.”
KUWAIT – Behind a yellow brick wall in this ultramodern city
sits the headquarters for the Social Reform Society, devoted to
pure Islamic life.
Inside the compound, the parking lot is practically full.
Soccer fields, a gym, a snack shop and a video arcade attract
Bearded men sit around in a meeting hall sipping fruit
drinks. Then they break for evening prayers in an adjacent mosque.
Posters around the headquarters convey a sense of injustice.
One shows a black strand of barbed wire choking the mosque in the
middle of Jerusalem.
But there’s no clear evidence this group is violent.
U.S. officials have cracked down on Islamist organizations
that they believe are linked with terror.
The Social Reform Society still operates.
Like dozens of Islamist groups across the world, it does good
works. These groups have huge popular support and are pressing to
join the political mainstream. Governments count on them to
perform social welfare work.
The groups also advocate powerfully for traditional Islamic
practices such as segregation of men and women in schools.
The main difficulty Social Reform Society members face, group
secretary Abu Abdel Rahman says, is heavy-handed treatment by
“We can’t do a thing here without asking permission,” says
Activities consist of “people getting together for their
aims,” he says. “In America, aren’t there groups doing that?”
One aim is helping the poor.
“Many poor people,” Rahman says. “And all over the world,
poor people with poor people, rich with rich.”
Another aim is giving teenagers alternatives to trolling
about Kuwait’s Los Angeles-style shopping malls amid sexy images
of Western women in tight jeans.
“This is a Muslim club,” says Hamad al-Awady, holding soccer
shoes before an evening practice under lights. “Some people here
say Osama bin Laden is a good man; some say he’s a bad man. Many
Muslims say he is a good man.”
Ahmed Baloul, 16, heading to the video arcade with his
brother, says he supports Palestinians, “but I don’t support the
suicide bombers. The prophet said don’t kill any human, plant or
animal. Just kill the man who resist you.”
In Kuwait, Islamist groups have more freedom than in much of
the Mideast. The result is growing fundamentalist influence in
Kuwait’s Parliament. A U.S-backed proposal to let women vote in
Kuwait was narrowly defeated last year because of Islamist
U.S. diplomats are torn.
Officially they support greater political openness in the
Mideast, which would give greater influence to popular groups.
They also support Western freedoms, particularly involving women,
that many Islamist groups reject. And the possibility that some
groups may advocate violence complicates everything. About 40
Kuwaitis fought with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
“One of our chief concerns is the lack of tolerance some of
these groups display,” says U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait Richard
Jones, suggesting that a willingness to impose beliefs can
“predispose you to violence.”
Quoting from the Koran, Jones says: “There is no compulsion
Fighting poverty seen as first step in waging war on future terrorism
BEIRUT – Security guard Jamal Al-Masalmy trudges the sour
streets of the refugee slum Shatila, one of 20,000 Palestinians
here with no legal job, no political representation, no property
They lug sloshing water into teetering brick buildings. They
bootleg electricity from overloaded wires. They pick through
garbage heaps for plastic, tin. Children beg, tiny hands tugging.
“No future,” 33-year-old Al-Masalmy concludes, seething as he
retires to smoke in the back room where he sleeps on a cot.
He blames the United States – not Lebanon – “because you are
the superpower.” Americans “see on television what happens to
Palestinians” and “nobody talks about it.” Instead, Americans
support Israel, occupier of land he views as Palestinian.
He’s against killing innocents. But if a terrorist recruiter
asked him to attack Americans?
“Maybe yes. Maybe no,” he says before the light bulb flickers
off and his cigarette burns, an orange dot hanging in the dark.
Al-Masalmy embodies the potential for terrorism that grows
daily in political frustration, anger, poverty and despair.
Worldwide, legions of educated but underemployed men such as
Al-Masalmy, resentful of American power, give extremists such as
Osama bin Laden a ready pool of recruits.
And extremists operate everywhere. Many draw support from
militant Islamist organizations that oppose pro-Western
governments and America.
While the United States stands committed to a war on
terrorism, and the U.S. military is ready to go anywhere, security
for civilians may require more than a crackdown.
It may require sustained efforts to stop terrorism at its
Nearly six months after the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S.
government has barely begun to mobilize on this front. President
Bush has concentrated on responding militarily to the immediate
threat posed by terrorism. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says
the best defense is a good offense.
Bush has proposed an expansion of the Peace Corps. The State
Department distributed several thousand cassettes of Muslims
preaching peace, and the president called for children to
communicate by e-mail across borders. The U.S. is among many
countries providing humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.
Yet the administration has offered few new efforts for
reducing poverty, engaging with Islamists to win hearts and minds,
and encouraging democracy that could offer political options that
The billions earmarked for fighting terrorism go mostly to
the military and homeland defense.
“Force alone is not enough’ to ensure security
Some U.S. diplomats contend a broader campaign is crucial.
“We need to work with our friends, particularly our friends
in the Middle East, to demonstrate that we have a shared interest
in offering people a sense of hope – whether it’s economic hope,
whether it’s political hope by encouraging participation and
greater openness, or whether it’s a resolution of (conflicts),
which I know are of longstanding concern to people of this
region,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State William Burns said.
Such goals “have acquired even greater importance” since
Sept. 11, said Burns, the top U.S. adviser on Near Eastern
affairs, during a recent visit to the Persian Gulf.
Economic help in particular must give “tangible results” in
narrowing a “rich-poor gap … so that people have a sense that if
economic growth occurs, it’s going to be spread fairly across
society,” Burns said.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who
supported the military campaign in Afghanistan, agreed. “Force
alone is not enough,” Albright said recently in Denver. “America
is against terrorism, but what none of us should ever forget is
what America is for.”
Allies in Europe and the Middle East also seek broader efforts.
In Egypt, where President Hosni Mubarak for years confronted
Islamist insurgents with force, authorities found they eventually
had to address causes of violence.
“Certainly economic development is very important,” said Gen.
Sherif Gala, first deputy in Egypt’s Interior Ministry. Egypt
launched poverty-reduction projects in the sugar cane fields along
the Nile River, where terrorists once drew recruits.
The result “is to raise the potential for the normal person
to raise his standard of living,” Gala said. Egypt reports no
terrorist attacks since 1998.
A sustained U.S. campaign that targeted roots of terrorism
“would be cheaper, less dramatic and, yet, more effective” than
military action, said veteran U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke,
former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
One key, Holbrooke said, is “to find credible Islamic
leaders” – an alternative to militant ideologues who exploit the
religion – to help build a new sense of hope.
Militant Islam, emerging over the last 80 years, nudges
thousands of disaffected young men toward violence.
It grew out of urban neighborhoods such as the teeming Imbaba
section of Cairo – row upon row of brick apartments separated by
narrow unpaved streets.
“We’d go to the streets and teach,” drawing crowds, Sheikh
Ahmad, an imam there, recalled of the early 1980s.
Radical Islamists assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat
in 1981 and also tried to overthrow Mubarak.
Like rulers across the Middle East, Mubarak – with $2 billion
a year in U.S. aid – cracked down. This drove many Islamists to
Britain, the United States and other Western countries. Some
claimed refugee status as victims of human rights abuses.
Displaced and sometimes alienated in apartment towers or on
university campuses, some took refuge in small, makeshift mosques
where they nurtured an ideology casting Western society as evil.
One group in Hamburg, Germany, plotted the Sept. 11 attacks
Crackdown on militants leaves frustration, fear
Today in Egypt, there isn’t much room for militants to operate.
The government controls all mosques. An estimated 15,000 Islamists
are in jail, U.S. officials say.
Only government-approved imams lead prayers.
Sheikh Ahmad spent years in jail before authorities released
him. Bearded in the fashion of devout followers, he read a
newspaper recently in the back-treet corner poultry shop he runs.
“Now I am a moderate one,” Ahmad began, speaking on condition
his full name not be printed. He teaches the Koran informally to
neighborhood children, he said. And he fumes. “I am a university
graduate. I expected to be a Muslim teacher. Now I can’t find a
good job. It’s difficult here. Everything is under control.”
“Sure,” he said, looking up and down the street as women
peered out doorways. “I can’t talk about it.”
Militant fundamentalist ideology still thrives worldwide,
said Khaled Salah, 31, an Al-Ahram newspaper political editor
whose uncle was executed for his role in a jihad group’s weapons
And around the Middle East, he said, frustrations are peaking
– about unaddressed needs for housing and health, constraints on
opposition politics, Israeli tanks parked in the middle of
“We can’t do anything. We can’t do anything. This is the
problem. This is the real problem,” Salah said. “It’s a critical
situation here. We need democracy.”
He said the U.S. approach to cracking down on terrorism –
“you treat everybody with rockets, bombs” – may ignore other, more
“America has the most advanced civil society in the world. It
needs to teach people in Egypt who can be leaders and implement a
civil society here.”
Salah has applied for professional exchange programs in the
U.S., so far without success. He believes experience in America
could boost his local clout. He said that for the cost of a
missile, the United States could instruct hundreds of journalists
from across the Arab world in how to run independent media.
Islamist groups trying to reach out in peace
Across the Muslim world since Sept. 11, U.S. authorities have
brought pressure to bear on dozens of Islamist organizations that
they say helped fund terrorists. But some Islamists now say
they want to join the political mainstream, distancing themselves
from violence, building relations with the West.
For example, the Islamic Presentation Committee in Kuwait
City is trying to enlist U.S. soldiers, deployed for training in
the Kuwaiti desert, for cross-cultural discussions, said Abdel
Latif, spokesman for the group.
Many Muslims see America primarily in “images of materialism:
“Baywatch,’ Madonna,” Latif said.
“They fear that they might lose their religion, be
materialized. People are trying to cope with the overpowering
sense of emphasis on gaining wealth. They want to somehow live as
a Muslim. They also want to be part of these things. You need to
try to understand them. And people here don’t know about the
Another potential starting point for Americans is working in
schools to prevent terrorism.
In Jordan, U.S. diplomats four years ago had a hand in
beginning one effort.
They sent an experienced middle school teacher, Muna
al-Shami, 45, to the U.S. on an exchange to study local
During her two-week tour, she dropped in on a city council
meeting in Troy, N.Y. People, including elderly women, were
arguing about garbage collection.
Al-Shami was amazed at “the forcefulness” with which
Americans expressed their opinions to council members, “putting
forth their point of view yet without causing injuries.”
This ability to act politically without resorting to violence
seems to be lacking in Arab societies, she said.
Back in Jordan, she took action, forming a group of about 100
teachers interested in developing “civil society.” They began
talking about teaching 11- to 14-year-olds “to participate in
public life” nonviolently, she said.
“When you are trained to use evidence, objectivity, your
emotions will be more under control.
“You can write letters, you can go to the press. You can hire
a lobby. It is important to equip your citizens with knowledge of
how to express themselves concerning issues they’d like to change
in a peaceful manner. You alleviate the sources of frustration.”
Al-Shami led about 20 teachers in a training seminar recently.
On her presentation board she wrote phrases in Arabic: “legal
knowledge,” “public policy” and “activating the role of the
One of the teachers spoke up. Poverty in his town has led to
begging in the streets. Is this the kind of social problem that
his students could research?
The teachers planned a curriculum. Students could discuss
poverty, then interview beggars. Then they could call local
government officials to find out its policy toward beggars. Then
students could design a social action plan.
“I cannot give you a guarantee now that this program will
stop violence,” al-Shami said. “But if these efforts are started
and consistently maintained, then I can give you a guarantee.”
The problem, U.S. embassy officials in Amman said: no funding.
Hard to gauge success of different kind of war
Nobody’s sure whether efforts to “drain the swamp” of the
poverty and frustration that breeds violence would succeed.
And the horror of what happened Sept. 11 may cause militants
to think twice about terrorism.
Months after the attacks, men on streets from Africa to
Central Asia express sympathy to visiting Americans.
“Everyone feels it’s no good to make terrorist actions like
that – even against nonbelievers,” Sheikh Ahmad said in Cairo.
Even in Beirut’s Shatila slum, Palestinian refugee Al-Masalmy
said: “It’s bad work, what happened in America. We don’t like
But then he adds a caveat – one still heard so often in
discussions about how to stop terror.
“Conditions here are very tough. And the other side, he kills
How we fight
The United States seeks to prevent terrorism from taking root.
Among the approaches under discussion:
“Extending compassion” by expanding the Peace Corps.
Humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and other countries.
Democratic institutions, to give people a voice in government.
Encouraging moderate political and religious leaders.
Some terrorist groups, Al Qaeda, many countries
The name of Osama bin Laden’s group means “the base.”
Founded in Afghanistan in the early 1990s, it is one of the two
main members of the International Front for Fighting Jews and
Crusades, an alliance bin Laden unveiled in 1998 that he said was
formed to kill Americans and destroy U.S. interests around the
The Egyptian Jihad, or Holy War, Egypt
Led by Ayman al-Zawahri, bin Laden’s top lieutenant. Blamed for
assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981. Group
split when al-Zawahri announced his decision to join bin Laden’s
International Front, with some members fearing it would draw too
much attention from the United States. After the bombing of two
U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998, several leaders were arrested
abroad and sent to Egypt.
Gamaa Al-Islamiya (The Islamic Group), Egypt
Egypt’s biggest radical Muslim group led a violent 1992-97
campaign to set up a purist Islamist state. Killed dozens of
tourists near Luxor in 1997. Armed Islamic Group (GIA), Algeria
The group was formed after Algerian authorities canceled
elections that Islamic activists were poised to win, touching off
a conflict that has left more than 100,000 dead. Bin Laden is
suspected of using this network in Europe and it has been linked
to a Canadian cell involving Ahmed Ressam, the would-be millennium
bomber caught in Washington in 1999.
Street-level vigilance and savvy combine to ferret out suspects
UDAIRI DESERT, Kuwait – As the sun dips behind sand dunes
near the Kuwait-Iraq border, glowing red tracer bullets zing over
black barbed-wire coils.
U.S. Army Sgt. Lance Perkins lobs a smoke bomb that lands
just beyond the wire by a z-shaped trench. His fellow troops from
Fort Carson then hurl grappling hooks to tear back the wire. The
eight infantrymen creep through yellow smoke and take the trench,
opening fire in crackling bursts. “Light ’em up!” one shouts,
pumped up in this drill.
They’re preparing for action anywhere from Central Asia to
the Horn of Africa in America’s war to rid the world of terrorism.
But this is a new kind of war.
While Perkins and thousands of other highly trained,
extravagantly equipped U.S. troops are formidable, a shambling
Kuwait City policeman, assigned to a bazaar two hours south of
here, where he drowsily writes parking tickets, may be more
effective in cracking down on terrorists.
Police Sgt. Khalid Al-Saba, 44, perked up recently when he
spotted four South Asians, two from Pakistan, lingering in a
neighborhood where they didn’t live.
Al-Saba stopped them. They gave names that proved fake. He
arrested them for further investigation.
“We should not be forgiving. We have to stop terrorism,”
Al-Saba said. “Check everything. Fight the crime before it
The terrorists who attacked America lived and operated among
civilians in cities – not in open deserts.
Five months after the Sept. 11 attacks, Al-Saba’s sort of
street-level police vigilance, not dramatic military intervention,
emerges as the way the war on terrorism may be won or lost.
President Bush has wielded the U.S. military as America’s
Almost all money devoted to the war on terrorism goes to the
military. In January, Bush called for a $48 billon boost for the
Pentagon’s $331 billion annual budget.
That total would be three times the combined military budgets
of China, Russia, India, Britain and France.
A White House inner circle, including Vice President Dick
Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, sent U.S. soldiers
to the Philippines, Somalia and Yemen.
“If we have to go into 15 countries, we ought to do it, to
deal with the problem of terrorism,” Rumsfeld said recently.
The Pentagon also is looking at the logistics of overthrowing
Saddam Hussein’s government in Iraq. Analysts envision a
deployment of 100,000 or more U.S. ground troops (Iraqi forces
number 350,000, including 100,000 elite Republican Guards) that
could risk thousands of American lives.
Influential ally Israel urges America to consider action
against Iran as well.
Bush repeatedly has said the war on terrorism will be
different – not like the Gulf War that liberated territory, not
like the air war on Kosovo that involved few ground troops, not
like the quick war on Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
But just what it will be isn’t fully decided.
Meanwhile, local police are arresting terrorist suspects
throughout the world in Barcelona, Leicester, Hamburg, Manila,
U.S. authorities often aren’t involved until after initial
interrogations. Especially in the large multicultural cities
that give terrorists anonymity and opportunities to plot, local
police working streets and airports often are the only force
tied-in enough to head off attacks on civilians.
“Even if we knew where terrorists were, they would be hard to
hit with a bomber,” said James Phillips, Middle East analyst for
the conservative Heritage Foundation. “A lot of times, we don’t
know where they are. They operate among civilians and attack
Military operations face growing resistance.
Turkey’s prime minister recently asked the United States to
refrain from attacking Iraq, warning that this could destabilize
the region. Rulers in Saudi Arabia, where many Muslims bristle at
the presence of 5,000 U.S. soldiers, said they wouldn’t support
use of those troops against Iraq or any other Arab or Muslim country.
“Please don’t rush. Think about it before you do bad things
to people all over the world,” pleaded Suad al-Walaiti, who lived
in Denver in the late 1980s and now directs an Islamist women’s
group in Kuwait.
“War is not a solution,” said al-Walaiti, “I don’t like
Saddam Hussein. But what about his poor people?”
Some analysts warn that too much military force could drive
away countries that the United States needs as partners.
“The problem is going to be that on issues like intelligence
cooperation and law enforcement cooperation, we are not going to
get anything. Countries will just start to walk away from us,”
said Jim Lindsay, the National Security Agency’s global issues
director under President Clinton. Lindsay now runs the Brookings
Institution program on terrorism and American foreign policy.
“Their governments are going to say: “Look, you have become
so unpopular with our public that we are not going to work with
you. You have become sort of radioactive.'”
U.S. troops deployed since Sept. 11 are among the first to
grasp the new challenges a sustained war on terrorism presents.
Plainclothes officers can “Go in, flush ’em out’
Camped in Kuwait, in a sandy training area dubbed “the kabal,”
Fort Carson infantrymen recently motivated themselves setting up
mock tombs for Hussein and Osama bin Laden. But “it’s difficult”
to catch terrorists, said Sgt. Lawrence Montoya, 31, in his tent,
clasping three letters from his children near Colorado Springs.
“Because they wear no uniform. This is where police would probably
be more effective. They can plainclothes it. Go in and flush ’em out.”
Standing in a chow line, Sgt. Joey Mushinski, 25, figured
“intelligence needs to be beefed up a lot” to make progress.
“We’re not very much use until they find a specific country
or city. We need CIA, or something. We’re definitely a broad
sword. America could do a lot more than we are now. It’s seeming
to slow down. Boost the CIA. Get it back to Cold War levels.”
U.S. commanders also recognize limitations.
“If we think that the military is the single answer, we’ve
got that about wrong,” says Col. Mike Weimer, 52, assistant chief
of operations for Army Central Command, speaking at a Mideast base
that he asked not be identified for security reasons.
Rather, Weimer said, expect a multidimensional campaign in
several countries at once.
“What we can do is maintain very close cooperation with the
military and law enforcement operations in a particular country,”
he said. “Ultimately there has got to be some linking and some
The State Department already has a police program to combat
terrorism. It is built on Cold War contacts the United States
developed to fight communism. Since 1983, this Anti-Terrorism
Assistance program has trained more than 25,000 law enforcement
officials in 117 countries.
The advantage for U.S. taxpayers: The cost is a small
fraction of what military mobilization costs. The annual budget is
$38 million, with $45 million in supplemental funds available.
Police from other countries come to the United States for
training. They learn the latest techniques for border security,
bomb detection, dignitary protection, dealing with weapons of mass
destruction. And they begin to view America as a partner.
“We need cooperation and the ability to exchange information
rapidly” so that local police in one country “can pick up and call
their counterparts anywhere in the world,” said Ambassador Francis
Taylor, the U.S. government’s counterterrorism coordinator.
Strengthening a global police dragnet would require
“relationship-building in places that we have not traditionally
had law enforcement relations,” Taylor said. “The problem of law
enforcement worldwide is pretty simple. A cop wants to know
everything he can so that he can make a judgment.
“That means you’ve got to move intelligence. We don’t do that
across the world very well. We don’t do that in some of our own
cities very well. Law enforcement is how we basically protect our
societies. We’ve got to enable every law enforcement officer to be
a sentinel in this fight against terrorism.”
In support of police cooperation, U.S. diplomats are pressing
for extradition treaties to bring suspects across borders for
trials. They’ve developed informal hand-over procedures –
diplomatic security officers refer to “rendering” suspects abroad
– that can hasten roundups with less hassle for governments
Before the Sept. 11 attacks, police cooperation worked.
In December 1999, terrorists in Amman, Jordan, plotted
attacks on a hotel and at tourist sites. Policemen who had worked
with U.S. authorities before broke up the plot, then notified U.S.
“They think bin Laden’s people, a local cell there, was
involved,” said Mike Kraft, a State Department official familiar
with the case. “It was just basic police work.”
U.S. officials want to build a new police training center
outside Washington, D.C. Currently, foreign police candidates for
anti-terrorism training must wait up to a year before courses and
relationship-building can begin. “This is a major constraint,”
Close cooperation builds more than security
Authorities abroad often are enthusiastic because U.S. support
strengthens their domestic position.
“We welcome any kind of cooperation between the police
agencies in Egypt and the police agencies in the United States,”
said Gen. Sherif Galal, first deputy in Egypt’s Interior Ministry.
“Our wish would be all the developmental and technical assistance
we can get.”
Egypt offers an example of close cooperation. Authorities
here have cracked down against Islamist militants over the past
two decades. Groups linked to the 1981 assassination of President
Anwar Sadat also wanted to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak, and
eventually resorted to attacking tourists. In 1997, 58 visitors
from Japan and Europe were gunned down near a temple at Luxor.
In Cairo, Egypt’s capital, U.S. regional security attache
Gentry Smith, a former police officer in North Carolina, recently
headed out from the embassy with Maj. Helmy Ghazy, an Egyptian
Central State Security officer.
Ghazy is a veteran of Egypt’s anti-terrorism campaign, in
which police infiltrated groups and jailed an estimated 15,000
people. Now he works as a liaison officer on the U.S. payroll out
of an office in the U.S. Embassy.
“You can’t find Osama bin Laden. You are finding his small
soldiers,” Ghazy said of America’s war on terrorism so far.
“Military-wise, you won’t succeed as you will if we cooperate with
“The world is now like one big country. If you don’t have
agencies united, this problem will come back to you. Intelligence
cooperation can solve this problem faster than military work.”
He and Smith park their sport utility vehicle at Cairo
International Airport and check in at the office of Gen. Abdel
Mohamed, who directs airport police operations. Smith asks amiably
about the framed photo on Mohamed’s wall showing him with other
Egyptian officials on a training visit to Oklahoma City in 1990.
Mohamed assures Smith that bomb-sniffing dogs, raised in the
U.S. and then trained in Egypt as part of the cooperative program,
check all luggage and aircraft for every flight from Cairo to the
Egyptian police now use more than 200 dogs. They house and
train them at a new 5,000-acre police academy, running them
through obstacle courses of explosives hidden in suitcases,
televisions and computer keyboards.
“OK, show me again,” Mohamed Anter says to his Labrador,
Gloria, after she locates a pouch of C-4 stuffed behind the left
front headlight of a Fiat. “Good dog.”
But military or police operations face growing resistance.
Initial sympathetic goodwill toward the United States is waning.
Many around the Middle East oppose U.S. support of Israel.
Many object that U.S. efforts to isolate Iraq hurt civilians. Many
resent U.S. troops based in the region. And police are widely
seen, in low-income sectors and among intellectuals, as
heavy-handed. “America is becoming like our regime here,” said
Darwish Salama, 32, a bedouin displaced from the ancient stone
city at Petra, Jordan, now selling souvenirs.
He supports stopping terrorism. “You have to do something,”
he said. “But soldiers will not do anything. You have to find out:
What makes terrorists? Here it is the Palestinian issue. Elsewhere
it is something else. You have to help solve these problems.
“You could say to your allies: “We are not giving you money
to kill people.’ Because that makes people hate America. And then
people will continue to attack America in many countries. America
must use her power for good things, things that are good for
A group of retired Jordanian generals, reviewing the war on
terrorism in Amman recently, concluded that Bush is going about it
Americans seem reflexively to rely on brute force, instead of
diplomacy and aid programs, to resolve problems rooted in poverty
and despair, they lament.
“Look, you have lost the love of 70 percent of the people in the
world,” said Gen. Midhyib Alaur. “Instead of your military fighter
jets and guns, why not spend some money to help people out of
poverty? This is a real cause of terrorism.
“The United States must fix its foreign policy. Otherwise it
will meet the fate of Rome. And we will be sorry to see America
Islam – A monotheistic religion based on submission to Allah
(the Arabic word for God) and the chief prophet, Mohammed. Their
holy book is the Koran.
Muslim – One who practices Islam.
Islamist – Someone who seeks a society run on Islamic
principles. The movement is called Islamism – essentially,
political Islam – to distinguish it from the religion.
The State Department uses the definition of terrorism adopted
by the government in 1983 for statistical and analytical purposes.
It derives from Title 22 of the United States Code, Section
“Terrorism’ means premeditated, politically motivated
violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational
groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an
audience. Noncombatant is defined as civilians, or military
personnel who are unarmed or off duty.
The term “international terrorism’ means terrorism involving
citizens or the territory of more than one country.
The term “terrorist group’ means any group practicing, or
that has significant subgroups that practice, international